The Pentagon attempted to cover up a 2015 report detailing US$125 billion in wasteful spending, fearing that it would lead to more defense budget cuts, the Washington Post has reported.
The Defense Business Board’s Jan. 2015 study said that the Pentagon could save US$125 billion over five years by cutting wasteful bureaucratic spending.
The 77-page study estimated that the Pentagon was wasting 23 percent of its US$580 billion budget on desk positions such as accounting, human resources, supply chain and logistics.
After the internal study revealed much more waste than was expected and fearing future defense cuts, “senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results,” reported the Washington Post's Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward.
According to interviews and information obtained by the Washington Post, officials worried that Congress and the White House would cut spending in light of the findings and “imposed secrecy restrictions on the data” so that the findings could not be replicated.
Cutting bureaucratic waste could have been achieved by early retirements, cutting down on contractors and more efficiently using information technology within the defense department.
There were over 1 million estimated administrative employees compared to the 1.3 million troops on active service, which the study recommended could fund a number of defense projects such as additional army brigades, Navy and Air Force deployments and rebuilding the nuclear arsenals.
The revelations come as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has been talking about pulling out funding for wasteful federal spending and tackling corruption, or as he has dubbed it “draining the swamp.” But like virtually everything the president-elect has said, most are waiting to see if it materializes once he takes office on Jan. 20.
Unless Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress agree to a new spending deal, the Pentagon faces US$113 billion in budgets cuts over four years as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011.
An October report from the Government Accountability Office revealed that the pentagon spent US$626 million annually on propaganda, equivalent to 66 percent of its annual budget.